ATLANTA — As the world awaits the release of bodycam video of the beating that killed Tyre Nichols, Channel 2 Action News has learned that protests are expected Friday night in downtown Atlanta.
Organizer Peyton Hayes with the Party for Socialism and Liberation told Channel 2′s Tom Jones that the plan is for protesters to gather at Centennial Olympic Park and allow people to voice their concerns about what’s going on in the Nichols case and other police violence.
She said depending on the size of the crowd and the energy, protesters may march through the streets as well.
“We’re demanding that people take to the streets,” Hayes said. “This is just an effort for Atlanta to stand in solidarity in demanding justice for Tyre Nichols.”
Hayes said the protest will be peaceful.
“That is our intention,” Hayes said.
That’s also the intention of Venethia Cook Lewis. Her son, 17-year-old Vincent Truitt was killed by Cobb County police in 2020. Police say he got out of a stolen car with a gun and took off running.
The shooting of Truitt was ruled justified.
Lewis told Jones that she still feels like her son was murdered. She said her heart goes out to Nichols family.
“I know firsthand how they feel,” Lewis said.
Lewis said watching the case unfold with Nichols rips the scabs off her wounds all over again.
“Those memories resurface. As if it was yesterday,” she said.
- Alleged hitman confessed to woman’s murder, planned to kill man who hired him, Gwinnett police say
- Daycare owner accused of assaulting at least 5 children in Paulding County
- Did you feel it? Earthquake rattles part of Georgia
The 5 officers face murder charges and have been fired.
As authorities plan to release video of what happened, Lewis is urging people to protest peacefully.
“No matter what we have to be heard. Outside rioting and messing up our own city is not the answer.”
Gerald Griggs with the NAACP is also urging peace and nonviolence once the video is released.
“We’re very, very concerned,” Griggs said. “When you have outside violence by outside agitators it muddies the message.”
He said he’s concerned because the video of the incident is being released at night on a Friday.
“I would have hoped they would have released it earlier in the day -- maybe noon -- so people could take in what they’re witnesses,” Griggs said.
Lewis said she hopes Nichols family gets the justice she didn’t get.
“It’s a sad situation,” she told Jones.
Hayes said the protest at Centennial Olympic Park is expected to start at 7 p.m., the same time the video of the incident with Nichols and police will be released.
©2023 Cox Media Group